ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The US Deputy Secretary of State on Sunday urged the Federal Government of Iraq to open the Kurdistan Region’s airports and send the salaries of public employees.
During a press conference following meetings with Iraqi officials in Baghdad, John Sullivan, the US Deputy Secretary of State, said his government encouraged Iraq to reach a solid agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over all outstanding issues.
Sullivan said he called on the Iraqi officials to resolve problems with Erbil, especially the distribution of employees’ salaries and the reopening of airports, urging Baghdad to work with KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and his cabinet.
He added that unity was the best weapon for Iraq against the Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist groups; therefore, “the US fully supports a dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad.”
“During the meetings [with Iraqi officials], we reiterated the need for continued dialogue between the Iraqi government and the KRG and for Baghdad to resolve the issue of public employees’ salaries and to open the airports,” Sullivan stated.
In a statement on Saturday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed that Sullivan’s visit would focus on “discussions of expanding US-Iraq economic ties and increasing foreign investment to facilitate Iraq’s reconstruction.”
The statement added that Sullivan would also “meet with senior Iraqi officials in Baghdad and Erbil to discuss joint efforts to maintain an enduring defeat of IS, regional strategic priorities, the upcoming Iraqi elections, and progress surrounding the [Kurdistan Region].”
This is the second time in recent days a major US official has publicly called for the end of Baghdad-imposed punitive measures against Kurdistan following its Sep. 25 independence referendum.
On Jan. 23, Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter IS, said that “the airports in the Kurdistan Region needed to be reopened.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany